Chicago Union Leaders Double Dip on Pensions

By:  Brian Koenig
10/14/2011
       
Chicago Union Leaders Double Dip on Pensions

Tom Cross, the House Republican leader in the Illinois legislature, filed a bill Wednesday to probe a "charitable interpretation" of state law that granted at least eight Chicago labor officials eligibility for both city pensions and union pensions covering the same work periods. A Chicago Tribune/WGN-TV investigation discovered that some of these union officials await millions of dollars more in retirement due to double and even triple dipping on pensions.

The investigation confirmed that at least seven union officials are accruing retirement benefits in multiple pensions and one retired official is already collecting payments from two pensions, even though the law contains stipulations that "aim" to prevent such practices.

According to the report, one Chicago labor leader is anticipating retirement benefits of nearly $500,000 a year, while another expects to gain $438,000 from three separate pensions — a city laborers fund, union district council fund, and national union fund — all covering the same work period. In total, the 59-year-old union leader, Liberato "Al" Naimoli, is set to reap a whopping $9 million if he lives to his expected lifespan. President of Cement Workers Local 76, Naimoli is raking in almost $160,000 a year from his city pension. After retiring in 2010, he is also now eligible for a pension worth about $60,000 a year from the Laborers’ Pension Fund, and another $220,000 a year from a national union pension fund.

Tom Cross (photo), the House Republican leader in the Illinois legislature, filed a bill Wednesday to probe a "charitable interpretation" of state law that granted at least eight Chicago labor officials eligibility for both city pensions and union pensions covering the same work periods. A Chicago Tribune/WGN-TV investigation discovered that some of these union officials await millions of dollars more in retirement due to double and even triple dipping on pensions.

The investigation confirmed that at least seven union officials are accruing retirement benefits in multiple pensions and one retired official is already collecting payments from two pensions, even though the law contains stipulations that "aim" to prevent such practices.

According to the report, one Chicago labor leader is anticipating retirement benefits of nearly $500,000 a year, while another expects to gain $438,000 from three separate pensions — a city laborers fund, union district council fund, and national union fund — all covering the same work period. In total, the 59-year-old union leader, Liberato "Al" Naimoli, is set to reap a whopping $9 million if he lives to his expected lifespan. President of Cement Workers Local 76, Naimoli is raking in almost $160,000 a year from his city pension. After retiring in 2010, he is also now eligible for a pension worth about $60,000 a year from the Laborers’ Pension Fund, and another $220,000 a year from a national union pension fund.

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